Independence Avenue at 6th Street, SW
Dear General Dailey:
In its meeting of 15 June, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed options for the replacement of the exterior stone cladding of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum, as part of its broader review of modifications to the building and its grounds. The Commission was pleased to inspect on-site samples and mockups of these options during two visits to the museum, and approved the Smithsonian’s preferred choice of “Colonial Rose” granite in a sandblasted finish, with the following comments.
The Commission members expressed appreciation for the thorough analysis of the multiple cladding options proposed for this prominent museum on the National Mall. While accepting the use of stone as a replacement for the existing “Tennessee Pink” limestone, they expressed regret that a more innovative or technologically advanced material—consistent with the museum’s mission—would not be used. In endorsing the proposed option of “Colonial Rose,” they commented favorably on its durability and its visual compatibility with the nearby National Gallery of Art. Noting that this type of granite is usually selected because of its predominantly uniform pattern and flat appearance, they advised the careful specification of the stone, with varied tonal qualities and pronounced horizontal veining, to ensure a suitable level of visual modulation on the building’s facades.
The Commission looks forward to reviewing the results of the architectural and technical performance mockups, as well as documentation of the selection process, in addition to the further review of the overall project for the rehabilitation of the museum and site. As always, the staff is available to assist you with the next submission.
/s/Thomas E. Luebke, FAIA
Gen. John Dailey, Director
National Air and Space Museum
P.O. Box 37012
Washington, DC 20013-7012
cc: Ann Trowbridge, Smithsonian Institution
Larry Barr, Quinn Evans Architects